Writing this blog on leadership after an impactful coaching/mentoring call. The call was with a senior executive in an international manufacturing company that will do over $4.5 billion in sales this year. This is a company that believes in developing leaders at various levels and takes leadership very seriously. My coaching with this executive is all about leadership development as he enters what he expects to be the last 7 years of his career. He is motivated to be a phenomenal leader and finish well and strong.
A story of a misassigned “gift”
I remember as a young child sitting in church on Sunday. Back in the day, it was common to have someone sing or play a “special” song during the service. There was a lady who would often be featured singing for the congregation. I hated when she sang, as her voice literally made me feel ill. I recall someone referring to her as someone who had a gift of singing. All I remember sitting there as a young boy in the pew, was wanting to tell her that I didn’t think anyone hearing her voice had the gift of listening. I couldn’t fathom who in the congregation actually wanted to hear her sing.
Leadership is an action
Leadership is somewhat the same. Many individuals think they are leaders. Sometimes all it takes is a new title like Manager or Director and the individual believes they have the gift of leadership. But does anyone around them follow? Leadership is not a title or a position. Its a way of being. Leadership is recognized when people follow. Many good leaders never get a title to suggest it. However, people follow leaders. Of course, in a business, we want to have leaders who are truly leaders behaviourally and functionally. Ideally then; from a talent management standpoint; we effectively recognize and identify this subset of people. We then delegate authority and responsibility to them to match their leadership.
Your true leadership has much less to do with your title and the “power” you have than it does with the extent to which people want to follow you. Do people around you follow you? Do they follow because they have to or want to?
Cameron’s Call to Action
- Take a look around and make an honest assessment about who is following you and why.
- Assess, do people follow you because they have to or because they want to? If unsure, ask them.
- Consider undertaking a 360-degree review to get honest feedback regarding who and why people follow you. You may want to consider one of our custom 360 degree reviews or the Lumina Leader 360 psychometric test, which we have people around you participate in.
- Focus some attention on the extent to which individuals follow you, who are not required to. If there are multiple individuals in your personal and professional worlds who follow you, as a choice, perhaps you do have the gift of leadership, evidenced by people around having the “gift of following.”